Local golf courses increasing safety measures amid coronavirus pandemic

Published: Apr. 6, 2020 at 6:23 PM EDT
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Local golf courses, like Ironwood Golf Club, are increasing safety measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite 14 states shutting down golf entirely, North Carolina is not one of those states. In fact, golf is one of the few sports allowed under Governor Roy Cooper's stay-at-home orders.

Ironwood Golf Club in Greenville is staying open and making several changes to ensure player safety.

"I think it's important for us [to stay open]," said John LaMonica, PGA, General Manager at Ironwood. "Right now, it just gives folks something to do."

"It gives me something to do to get out of the house," said Ironwood member Georgia White. "I mean, this beautiful weather. Spring time."

"I think as long as they practice their social distancing, golf can be played," added LaMonica. "I just really feel that people need an outlet."

Golf can be that outlet, but can it be a safe outlet? White thinks so.

"I'm not too worried at this point," added White. "I have my towel that I left out on the putting green, and I use that and make sure I don't touch my face with my hands. We're very careful about taking our balls out of the cup. Don't touch the flag. So yeah, I feel okay. I feel safe."

One of the changes being made to ensure player safety is on the putting green. Right now, there is blue foam on the bottom of each flag stick to ensure no hand actually goes in the hole.

But LaMonica told WITN Sports that those flag sticks may be removed completely in the next couple of days. Either way, LaMonica and his staff are taking extra precautions. They have signs posted making social distancing mandatory. There is a cleaning station inside the clubhouse. Rakes have been removed from the sand and sand bowls have been removed from the carts.

"We are sanitizing carts, so it's still safe, I feel it is still safe," added LaMonica. "And if you have any questions to feel free to contact your golf shop, talk to your golf staff and ask them what they're doing. It's hard not to get outside when it's this nice outside. Our Christmas are these months here."